Monday, 17 December, 2007 11:48 PM
Blu-Ray and HD DVD: Your Guide
To the Holiday Shopping Frenzy!
I know you're probably
stalking the shelves of Best Buy looking for that special gift for
the technophile in your life, and wondering just what to go with.
Perhaps you've even forayed into that great first major tech battle
of the twenty first century that doesn't involve a game system:
Blu-Ray....or HD DVD?
Which is a tough question to answer. There's actually quite a lot
riding on this, with players going into several hundred dollars
apiece and the various studios factioning around their preferred
format, it's going to be really easy to get the wrong player. So,
let's take a quick look at the pluses and minuses.
Anime buffs take note--if you like foreign films of any stripe then
the HD DVD is your weapon of choice. HD DVDs do not at last count
have region coding, which means if you buy your anime straight from
Japan you can slap it in the HD DVD player and play immediately.
Blu-Ray discs have the option to come without region coding, but
most have it. Though interestingly, Japan is in Region One, the
same as the United States, so Blu-Ray becomes a problem for European
and Indian films, but not for Japanese.
Range of Use
Okay, the long and the short of it is, in terms of number of titles,
Blu-Ray has a LOT more titles available than HD DVD. Blu-Ray has
something like three million total, while HD DVD is just short of
two. Strangely, corporate support is split almost evenly and wildly
varied--Blockbuster, for example, reports heavy Blu-Ray rentals
whilst Netflix users are staunch HD DVD supporters.
HD DVD will, eventually, be able to support larger movies and thus
more bonus content with its triple-layer maximum format, but no
movies have actually been released under this format. There are
other differences between the two in terms of video playback and
audio compression, but the differences actually manage--from what
I can tell--to cancel each other out to such a degree that there
is no clear technical winner in the Blu-Ray / HD DVD comparison.
The Final Verdict
Seriously. There's absolutely no reason to play early adopter on
this one. Both Blu-Ray and HD DVD together can't even begin to compare
to the number of regular DVDs sold in the United States this year.
Both of them together equal a meager two and a half percent of regular
DVD sales in just the first half of 2007. The biggest problem here
is that the whole issue is still in a shakedown modality and trying
to figure out who will have the dominant format. This is VHS / Beta
all over again, and do you really want to pay ludicrous prices to
have the newest Betamax on your entertainment center shelves? No,
of course you don't! It's ridiculous!
So if you want the final verdict from your friendly neighborhood
Video Store Guy, go buy an HDTV instead, and let the Blu-Ray / HD
DVD War settle its own hash before you go buying one or the other.
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